About Me

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Vegan. Ex-makeup artist. CFS/ME sufferer. Cares about human rights, equality, animal rights, conservation/climate change.


Thursday, 26 May 2016

The Vegan Kind Beauty Box 7 Review

Earlier this month I recieved my The Vegan Kind Beauty Box (yaaaay!) Instead of just showing you what I got, I thought I'd take some time to try out the products and tell you what I thought. 

This is what the box contained.

 Anticlockwise L-R PHB Eye Gel, Alva Sparkling Mineral Powder, Fairypants Lip Scrub, Grounded Hair Mask, Twa Burds Bath Soak.

I was really impressed with what I got this time. It's amazing value for money, bought separately the contents would set you back £42.94! Pretty good, considering the box costs £18.15 (including P&P) on the most expensive subscription plan! Right, let's get to the products.

First we have PHB Ethical Beauty Anti-Aging Eye Gel, RRP 16.95.

It's a hydrating gel containing aloe, argan oil, seaweed, sea buckthorn, rock rose, and lavender. With the 'anti-aging' claim, I was expecting to find ingredients like peptides, retinol, vitamin c, niacinamide, but no such luck. While it might not work miracles on your crow's feet, it is intensely moisturising, and leaves the eye area supple and soft. I was expecting it to make my eyes water or sting because of the strong fragrance, but somehow it doesn't cause any irritation. 

I like that it comes in an airtight container with a pump, instead of a jar.

The gel absorbs quickly, leaving no sticky residue. It works well under other products and doesn't 'pill'.

It has some impressive ingredients - argan and sea buckthorn oils nourish the skin, effectively locking in the moisture provided by the aloe and seaweed. However I'd much prefer some real anti-aging ingredients instead of the fragrant essential oils - especially as fragrant oils can be a potential irritant for people with sensitive skin.

Ingredients List
Overall, it's a good product, but for the price I would demand more active ingredients and less fragrance.

The next product is Alva Natural Cosmetics Green Equinox Sparkling Harmony Mineral Powder, RRP £7.50.

This is a beautiful, multi-purpose golden shimmer powder. It's lovely as an eyeshadow, but it really comes into it's own when used as a highlight. I initially thought it would be too dark to use as highlighter on my skin tone, but it adds a sort of 'lit-from-within', ethereal glow that I can't get enough of! The shimmer particles are just the right size so that it doesn't look obviously glittery. I've also been applying a little to the centre of my lips and cupid's bow to add dimension. The only fault I can find with it is the sifter only has three holes, so getting the product to come out is a struggle! 

Left, finger swatch. Right, blended out. In sunlight.
Tried to capture what it looks like on in this hastily snapped selfie.

Next up is Fairypants Lemon Drizzle Lip Scrub, RRP £3.99.

This is one of those products I wouldn't buy because they're so easy to make yourself. However it is lovely! It smells - and tastes - of sweet lemony vanilla. Mmm! It works, too, leaving my chronically dry lips smooth and flake free. Great for prepping your lips for unforgiving liquid lipstick formulas!
I love the cute packaging!

I've been dying to try some of Fairypants' other products - ecpecially their lip paints and space-themed collection of holographic nail varnishes! Everything seems very reasonably priced, too, perfect if you're on a budget!

The next item is Grounded Coconut and Lime Hair Mask, RRP £12.50.

I love using oil treatments overnight on my hair, but for frugality's sake I usually use plain coconut oil, or a mixture of olive and coconut. This one contains a blend of coconut, macadamia, avocado and grape seed oils, and is scented with a tropical lime aroma. I used it according to my normal routine, which is as follows.

Step 1 - Before bedtime, brush hair thoroughly to remove all tangles. Place a towel around your shoulders to protect your pyjamas. 

Step 2 - Fill a spray bottle with warm water and spritz hair until damp, but not dripping. This step is important, as the oil's job is to lock the moisture in, and it can't do that without any moisture!

Step 3 - Saturate hair with oil. If you have a dry scalp or are looking to promote hair growth, saturate the scalp too.

Step 4 - Section hair into two sections, left and right. French plait hair.

Step 5 - Lay the plaits close to the scalp, then wrap the head in cling film. Leave out the face, or you'll die. 

Step 6 - Put on a hat, or wrap head with a scarf. The warmer the hair is, the better the oil will penetrate, so wear as many hats as you can fit on at once!

Step 7 - Sleep. You may want to cover your pillowcase with a towel, just in case.

Step 8 - In the morning (or afternoon, I'm not judging) wash your hair. It usually takes 3 washes to get completely out.  For the first wash, apply the shampoo to the hair before wetting it. Condition as usual.

Step 9 - Enjoy your soft, silky hair!

I really liked this hair mask. It worked amazingly, but apart from the (heavenly) scent it didn't seem much better for my hair than my usual straight coconut oil. It's easier than coconut oil because you don't have to melt it first, but if you want to heat it, it's as simple as popping the pouch in a bowl of hot water. 

I love the pouch packaging with the screw top. I wish they made pure coconut oil in these pouches!

The final product I received was Twa Burds Woodland Rose Epsom Salt Bath Soak, RRP £2.00. 

I am a massive fan of Epsom salt baths, so I was pleased to get this in the box! Epsom salt, or magnesium sulphate baths are a great way to get an dose of the essential mineral magnesium. An electrolyte, magnesium is needed by the brain and muscles - and sore muscles feel so much better after soaking in a hot Epsom salt bath! It also helps to soothe joint inflammation, so it's perfect for sports injuries, or for spoonies with ME/CFS, fibromyalgia or arthritis. 

This bath soak is tinted pink and infused with a gorgeous scent. The rose and calendula petals floating on the water really give this product a luxurious feel - perfect for when you're in need of a pamper! I'm afraid I forgot to take a picture of this, it looked so relaxing that I jumped straight in!

I had a look on their Etsy shop, and they do Nag Champa scented Epsom salts! I have to try those next! They also sell palm oil free soap - which is perfect if, like me, you avoid palm oil because of the deforestation and destruction of orangutan habitat involved in it's production.

I'm so pleased with the selection in this beauty box! And of course 20p from the sale of each box goes to Dr Hadwen Trust, an amazing charity dedicated to non-animal medical research. 

If you want to subscribe to The Vegan Kind Beauty Box, you can do so here, and if you already do, tell me what you thought of this box!

Til Next Time,


This beauty box was purchased by me with my own money, but my opinions could never be bought either way!

Thursday, 12 May 2016

M.E. Awareness Day #UndiesChallenge #MillionsMissing Plus Spoonie Survival Kit

It's that time of year again, when ME/CFS sufferers worldwide take to the internet to raise awareness and funds for this debilitating condition. So I thought I would take a second to tell you about the disease that has well and truly kicked my behind. 

It is usually triggered by a viral infection, from which the sufferer never seems to recover. For me, catching cold sores was the beginning of my decline over several years. When I was diagnosed, in 2008, the fatigue was relentless, but I ignored it as much as I could. I could use willpower to push through it and do things I wanted to do - like go to work, go clubbing, have a day out with friends or family. But each outing left me exhausted and weak the next day. I quickly learned that two days of activity in a row was almost impossible. Over the years my condition has worsened to the point that I had to give up the career that I loved, and I need to be pushed in a wheelchair in order to go anywhere that involves walking more than a short distance. 

No amount of rest will relieve the exhaustion I feel. Having a bath or shower and washing my hair is a monumental undertaking. My memory is atrocious - I constantly forget common words and get lost in a haze of brain fog. Thinking feels like wading through mashed potatoes. If I've been out of bed for longer than usual, my joints and muscles will ache the next day. Sometimes they ache when I haven't done anything. My balance is terrible - I often stumble into door frames or stagger like a drunkard. I was supposed to post this early this morning, but I slept all day today after going out yesterday.

ME sufferers are not looking for sympathy. We want to raise awareness and fund research into this disease, so that soon there may be an effective treatment or cure.

My first step to achieving this is to do the #UndiesChallenge!

That's right, I'm wearing my underwear on the outside like Superman, because I'm a superhero for ME/CFS! I'm donating £10 to the Open Medicine Foundation's END ME/CFS Project at bit.ly/UOTO1 and I nominate YOU to do the same! If you're reading this, you have 24 hours to post your #undieschallenge selfie on social media, donate £10 or whatever you can spare and nominate 3 friends to do the same!

My second step is sending my shoes to London for the #MillionsMissing virtual protest on May 25th! Millions of people, all over the world are 'missing' from the lives they would have lead without this disease. Missing out on their careers, hobbies, trips, relationships they simply do not have the energy or strength for. The London event is on 25th May outside the Department of Health, to protest the lack of funding for ME/CFS research. Of course, as most ME sufferers are too ill to attend, we are sending our shoes to represent us!

Image via In The Now, Youtube.
Here are the shoes I'm sending. Bye shoes!

Click here for information on how to send you shoes for the protest.

Another way to support the protest is to sign and share the petition demanding the US NIH adequately fund ME/CFS. What are you waiting for?

For step three of supporting ME Awareness Day I purchased a special Spoonie Survival Kit for ME Awareness Month, which is May. Spoonie Survival Kits are 'little bags of happiness that contain a range of items that will hopefully help those with long-term conditions to smile, and remind them that they are not alone.' Usually 75% of sales money goes to chronic illness charities, but this special kit has 100% of sales money going to the ME Association

Want to see what I got?

It comes in a blue organza bag, along with a leaflet from The ME Association. Inside the bag, everything is wrapped in blue tissue paper. It's like a present!

The first thing I got is this ME awareness wristband. It says 'It's real. It's physical. It's M.E.' This refers to the widespread belief in the medical community that the disease was 'all in the mind'. This has only begun to change in recent years with new research providing irrefutable evidence of a biological origin. 

The second thing I got is an M.E awareness ribbon from M.E. Support. I immediately put it on my backpack, which I have decorated with other brooches and badges. What do you think?

The third thing I got was this pretty elephant bracelet. It's supposed to act as a reminder to help with the memory problems that come with ME, because 'elephants never forget'!

The fourth thing I got was a spoon charm, referring to the Spoon Theory, and chronic illness sufferers as 'Spoonies'. I think I might put it on my necklace. I'm holding tight to it today, I used most of today's spoons on yesterdays trip out, and even though I was in my wheelchair 99% of the day my hips and thighs are killing me right now!

The next thing I got is this lavender heat bag for aching muscles! You just pop it in the microwave for 30-40 seconds and it soothes ouchies, smelling lovely all the while!

The last thing I got was this ME Association balloon. I love balloons!

What are you doing for ME Awareness Day?

Til Next Time,


Thursday, 5 May 2016

No Prep Vegan Snacks With EarlyBird

Whether you're super busy, tired or sick, you don't always have the time or energy to prepare something to munch between meals. I recently discovered EarlyBird, who have solved my rumbly tummy issues! 

It's easy to grab junk food when you want quick and easy grub, but EarlyBird give you a delicious, healthful alternative. 

EarlyBird is a weekly snack box that delivers 4 healthy vegan snacks plus one tea bag. I've been testing them out for the past few weeks. 

Week One! Everything was so delicious!

Week one's tea. Darjeeling Duck - very nice!

Week two was amazing, the only snack I wasn't crazy about was the Cho-kale-et Chips. The tea was Mojitea Mockingbird - peppermint with lime and lemongrass. The chestnut snack reminded me of Booja-Booja truffles, so yum!

Week three was delicious! I'm definitely enjoying these boxes! The chocolate buttons that feature in the Flat Pack Brownie (and also in Nuts About Ella) are gorgeous - really generously sized, too. The tea was Roy-boss Robin - rooibos tea isn't usually my favourite, but this was divine. 

I really like that each week you get a chia pudding. You just need to add 50ml of water to them, leave it for a few minutes and you get a scrumptious porridge-like snack. I add hot water when I've boiled the kettle for a cuppa. 

I really enjoyed Berry Chia Pud. What a beautiful colour!

Overall I've been really impressed with these boxes, I've been eagerly awaiting their arrival each week! EarlyBird costs £4.99 a week, but I got week one for half price with a code! Bargain! You can get your own half price box using my code emma-9227.
Other snacking favourites of mine lately include - 

Eat Real Quinoa Chips, Sour Cream and Chive flavour, 85p. Guys, these are amazing! They remind me of a tastier version of Quavers. 

Cocoa Libre Milk Chocolate Alternative, £1.99. I love these chocolate bars! So good, so creamy!

I hope I've given you some great snacking ideas, whether you're a spoonie*, short on time, or just have better things to do than making snacks! If you can recommend any quick vegan snacks, let me know in the comments!

Also, you may have noticed I've revamped my blog design and changed the name! What do you think? I love a good makeover!

Til Next Time,


This is not a sponsored post, I bought everything with my own money. My opinions can never be bought anyway!

*Spoonie = chronically ill person.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

The 'Life' of a Vegan 'Make-up Artist'

I've been putting off making this post for a long time. I wasn't sure what I would write. This blog got abandoned along with my hope, when I realised I couldn't stay in denial any longer - I am far too ill to work. 

When my Nan was alive, she came to live with my parents and I so we could help her with meals and generally look out for her when she was too frail and ill with her asthma. Even as her health declined, she still paid rent on her old house - she was adamant she'd move back in when she was well enough. We'd play along, but we knew she'd never be well enough again. 

Nan was the type of person who loved looking after everyone. Extremely house-proud, every ornament was dusted and facing the right direction, every surface was polished. She'd clean up your crumbs and offer you more while you were still halfway through your food. She'd iron any clean clothes she could get her hands on, socks and knickers included. 

Nan and I, around 1997 I think.
It was hard for her when she had to give up her cleaning job, but harder still was giving up her independence. Being looked after by those she had once bathed and fed, and bounced on her knee. 

I find myself thinking about her now a lot, how I'd underestimated exactly what she went through at the time, as her body began to betray her. I lie in bed day in, day out, having my meals brought to me by my parents, in the same room where she laid and had meals brought to her. 

When she died I was devastated, I loved her fiercely. But at the same time, a small part of me was relieved. I was no longer constantly worrying about her health and well being. I was glad she was no longer suffering, weak and ill and sad, though she smiled for us.

What happened to her in her eighties has happened to me, and I'm still in my twenties. I often wonder if, in the coming months or years I were to die, would my family feel that small sense of relief I felt for Nan all those years ago? ME/CFS is not a terminal illness, but it can certainly take your life from you. I pushed and shoved and forced myself to work for so long, because I simply loved it. I enjoyed my job and it was worth it, even if I had to turn down more jobs than I accepted. Even when I could only manage working two days a month, I cherished those days. 

In the last year, I became unreliable, cancelling jobs at the last minute because I couldn't make it through my routine of bathing and dressing before I had to lie down, weak and exhausted. The jobs I did make it to, I no longer enjoyed, having to focus on staying standing, concentrating on what I was doing while my limbs ached, and every part of my body was begging me to lie down. It was time to admit defeat.

So now I'm no longer a make-up artist, what am I going to do with my life? I have no frikkin clue. Here is a Venn Diagram explaining my dilemma.

That question mark has been plaguing me for a long time. I need a sense of purpose, I need to achieve something tangible. My mental health, which is shaky at best, has definitely taken a hit now that my days are just spent killing time and trying to quell my epic boredom.

What does the future hold for me? For this blog? I'll need to change the name if I'm to continue. The Life of a Vegan Bed-Dweller? 

I guess only time will tell. I have far too much of it these days.

Til Next Time,